Sandler Techworks
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Tags Don’t Cut It
Categories: Technology

I tweeted earlier about the problems with metadata detailed at I’m excerpting some of my favorite quotes below because I really want you to see them – check out the original post for great infographics and more food for thought. I want to know: What do you see as the solutions? – Kathy Sandler

Tagging is a success story. Ten years ago, who would’ve thought that any regular Joe could and would be associating metadata with content. Out of their own free will, at that! Collections that would’ve just stayed a random pile of content in the past, like the bookmarks on Delicious or the photos on Flickr, are now being organized by the magic of folksonomies — a showcase for the sheer power of the many….”

“But too often, tags don’t live up to their promise. A techie at The Onion mentions that a while after they started tagging stories at their satirical news website, they had ended up with 20 or so different versions of “Bush Administration”, “George Bush”, “George W. Bush”, “Bush”, “bush” and so on, leading him to conclude that tags are evil…”

“Tags are not the right way of disclosing the rich interconnections between news articles and not the right way of packing them together….A tag doesn’t tell you whether an article is a critique of a person, an interview with a person or whether it just mentions that person in passing. A tag doesn’t even tell you if the reference to Samuel Adams is about the person or about the kind of beer (which is why we so desperately need vocabularies).”

“…specify real relationships. Let’s not reinvent the wheel. We’ll use use the triplets our semantic web buddies are so fond of:

<article> critiques <organization>
<article> contains an interview with <person>
<article> revolves around <event>
<article> follows up on <previous article>
<opinion piece> is a riposte vis-a-vis <other opinion piece>"

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